Surrey County Council leader warns authority can’t be expected to keep cutting budgets
Michael Davies firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLIC services in Surrey are facing a significant challenge in the coming year as the council looks to make millions more in “efficiency savings”.
That is the warning from Surrey County Council leader David Hodge, who said ongoing cuts were putting certain key services at risk over the next year.
Councillor Hodge told a meeting of the full council last week that the authority has been a shining example of dealing with the challenge of maintaining services while being forced to constantly reduce budgets.
But he warned that the council could not be expected to keep cutting and said some services risked developing huge deficits. “Over the last five years we were expected to save £70 million every year meaning by the beginning of this year we’d saved £329 million, an astonishing sum and an astonishing achievement by all,” he said.
“But it should not be taken for granted that we can do this again and again, but clearly the Government expects us to.
“This Conservative administration supports the Government’s efforts to reduce the national deficit and this council is committed to making savings and being as efficient as possible.
“But Government needs to understand there are demands and pressures on us beyond our control, which makes our position more difficult than ever before.”
The warning comes as figures from the council show that departments like adult social care is tens of millions in debt because of increased use without an increase in funding.
Cllr Hodge has gone so far as to warn that school places can no longer be guaranteed unless the Government forks out more money for new places.